It’s easy to parent shame when you’re getting a millisecond window into somebody’s life via a picture on social media.
“How dare that mom feed that 2-year-old a hot dog and Coke? It’s all junk food,” one might think in briefly evaluating a Facebook photo. But how do you know that mom doesn’t feed her child grilled chicken and steamed broccoli every other night of the week, and that this wasn’t just their fun “cheat” meal?
On the flipside, idolizing someone’s life based on a snapshot is easy to fall prey to as well. After that “perfect” family photo taken amidst majestic mountain scenery, that family may have been fighting like cats and dogs on the way home in the SUV.
The point, particularly that Etched in Home’s Casey Huff is trying to drive home, is that we only ever see “glimpses” into people’s live’s with pictures. Social media doesn’t tell the whole story. It can show somebody’s best side or worst side, but it never shows the big picture, so we shouldn’t judge as though we know that person’s life.
Read Casey’s wise words of advice that she shared with a snapshot of her sons in a Facebook post below:
“We all know.
It’s just a snapshot.
It’s hard to remember that sometimes in a world that seems run by social media.
We see tiny glimpses of each other’s lives, and when we string enough of these tiny glimpses together, it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking we’re seeing the full picture.
It’s easy to imagine that we “know” people who we don’t truly know, and it’s easy to assess the quality of each other’s existence without seeing the behind the scenes truths that make up each of our lives.
But here’s the reality:
That family who looks exceedingly happy in every photo? They may love each other endlessly, but I’m willing to bet they frustrate each other sometimes, too (and I’d also daresay that somewhere in the photo there’s a mom bribing everyone with candy if they’ll stop bickering and smile for “just two seconds!”)
That photo that shows a happy meal and soda sitting in front of a 2-year-old? I’m sure that little one’s parents feed him/her a balanced diet on most nights of the week, but that this particular evening was extra busy or just called for a special (and easy) treat.
That gorgeous girl, the one who looks flawless in every photo; the one who has curves in all of the right places, a killer sense of style, and every hair in place? I bet she battles self-confidence issues, too.
That photo of a kid sitting unrestrained in the front seat of a car? What you can’t tell is that they’re parked in the driveway. That newborn sleeping soundly in a sea of loose blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals? Just off camera is a Mama who is sitting a foot away keeping a watchful eye on her baby.
The Instagram feed of the spotless home; the one whose shiplap and sparkling wood floors make you pause just a bit longer in a moment of envy? I bet its floor has seen a box of Cheerios strewn carelessly about by tiny hands.
That candid shot with a mile-high pile of dishes looming in the background? I bet that sink isn’t always overflowing, and that its owners found the focus of the photo to be more important in that moment than a clean kitchen worthy of being shown off.
We forget that these images are just snapshots.
They’re just one second in time, one moment in the long line of millions of others that make up the who, what, where, when, why of our very existence.
Yet we judge, judge, judge.
And we shame, shame, shame.
And we idolize.
And we let ourselves feel less-than because of someone else’s moment and our assumption of perfection.
We allow social media to act as a textbook of our lives rather than a tool to document the seconds that pass by oh so very quickly.
But they’re just snapshots.
And a snapshot will never tell our whole story.”